Follow by Email

Monday, November 30, 2015

Wrapping up November

This was a November to remember.....maybe the best ever!

 I miss all kinds of things about my Nana and Grandpa.  I miss the way my Grandpa never ever called me Melissa, only Doll.  I miss the way he whistled and hummed and how his worn Bible looked in his lap.  I miss his goofy jokes and happy laugh.  I miss my Nana's great big smile, and her even larger laugh.  I miss the way she squeezed all my air out when she hugged me and how she never ended a phone call without "Jesus Watch Over You".  I wish they could have met my girls and how I wish my girls had known them.  The weekend before Thanksgiving was as close as it could be here on Earth.  We made my Nana's Italian cookies.  My Aunt Mary Ann flew in from Colorado and on 
Friday she and my Uncle Ben made lots and lots of cookie dough!  On Saturday we all came together in my kitchen and made lots and lots of cookies.  We laughed and shared stories and it felt so good to be together.  
I'm thankful for the never-ending love of my grandparents.  I'm grateful for family who care about keeping traditions alive and for passing down those traditions to my kids.  

After Cookie Fest we traveled to California for Thanksgiving.  
And it was perfect!!!

The girls were fantastic travelers.  They made traveling easy and I am so thankful for that.

We spent a day in San Francisco.  The girls had a great time at the Exploratorium, an awesome science museum.  This was outside of the museum.  We spent about 20 minutes working on getting that bird to stay put while Lucy got close!  We drove down Lombard Street and went to Ghirdelli Square.  I'm thankful for a family that loves to explore!

 We stayed in a house in Sonoma County.   There was no way to come even close to capturing the beauty of this area.  I am so thankful to have had a week in this little bit of heaven.  My heart and mind were soothed by this beautiful place.

 Our animal lover was so happy!  This horse lived next door.

 And the dog lived next door too and was Lucy's constant companion the whole trip.  Her name was Reecie and she and made the trip for Lucy an absolute dream.  I'm thankful that Lucy can find such joy in animals, its makes me smile.

This happened while we were gone.  Emma and my mom are officially the same height!!  I'm thankful Emma and my mom are so close...not in height of course by in heart!  

We ran a couple of times while we were away plus we ran a turkey trot.  Not your ordinary turkey trot...a trail run!  I'm thankful to be a runner but I'm ready to cool it on the miles.  Less than a week until the marathon!

My brother! 
 He's amazing.  He's smart and fun and the most generous person you could imagine.  
I loved being with him last week.  My girls loved being with him too. 
Eleanor kept a journal while we were gone and it read like dream.  Games,games, games, a hot tub to play in, a trip to a winery, out to eat, a turkey trot trail run, a zip line in the yard, s'mores by the fire pit, drinks at the coffee shop, a tire swing for fun, Hallmark Christmas movies,  Thanksgiving crafts, delicious baking,  and staying up late every night.  He made sure we had a perfect vacation.  
I am so thankful for my brother and I'm grateful my girls are so blessed with him as an their uncle.   

Thursday, November 19, 2015


No surprise, I'm behind.  I've been feeling incredibly grateful though, just haven't taken a moment to write!  I'm at Telle Tire right now having my tire replaced because it keeps going flat.  This week has been that way, a lot of little annoyances.  Nothing huge just irritants.  Today I'm thankful that I've kept each of these annoyances in check and they haven't done a thing to my happiness.  

I'm certain it has something to do with this place and the fact that I start every Monday with my 6AM  Core Group.   Meeting at 6AM either makes perfect sense to you or sounds insane.  I'm really grateful for a group of amazing ladies who think this makes good sense.  

I am also certain my joy has a lot to do with this girl.  In the last week she's cut her hair, changed her name, then changed it back again and been defiant more times than I can count.  Sometimes it's hard to be 5.  Sometimes it's hard to be 39.  I'm so grateful that we get to be 5 and 39 together.  

And these two!  Oh my goodness.  On Monday I told them I'd pick them up from school if it was raining.  I looked outside around pick up time and it didn't seem to be raining.  

I even sent her the above text, so there was no confusion about pick up vs. driving.  They arrived home drenched!!    They were laughing so hard and thought this was one of my ploys to have them work together and bond.  It wasn't but I think it worked anyway!  I'm so grateful to get to raise sisters!

On Monday night Eleanor had her first violin concert.  She absolutely hates playing the violin.  Hates as in she voluntarily went to a math review before school this morning so that she wouldn't have to go to violin lessons.   I'm grateful that Eleanor is learning that she is able to do really hard, not fun things.   I'm also glad there was a math review this morning so El could have a little break! 

I'm grateful that we are a flexible family.  In the rush to get Eleanor to that math review and Emma to school we forgot to feed Lucy.  Ok, I forgot.  We were almost to Lucy's school when she said "boy am I hungry!"  EEK!  Thankfully Lucy's school is near a Schnucks where there was plenty to make her happy and fill her tummy. 

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Yikes...9, 10, 11, 12, I think!

What would life be if I weren't behind?  
Dull, I guess.    
Tonight's post comes straight from the Webster Groves Starbucks where I sit, praying I won't fall asleep while Eleanor is at dance a few shops down the way.  I'm pretty much a mess over here.   Before I left home Emma suggested I brush my hair.  I didn't.  I did however stop at the grocery store to buy something for tomorrow morning's teacher appreciation breakfast at Eleanor's school.  Twelve years of being a mom and I don't think I've ever purchased something for a school event, I've always donated a homemade goodie.  You know how I'm feeling about that?  Great!  Absolutely GREAT!

Today I'm grateful that I'm not judging myself on my ability to be perfect.  And really is baking homemade lemon loaf perfection?  I didn't think so either.

I'm also grateful for the line, that at 7:20 on a Thursday night stretches to the door at Starbucks. I'm noticing how many people are coming in by themselves and leaving with two red cups.  It's buy one get one free holiday beverage time at Starbucks.  My heart feels happy thinking about all of the kindness that's being shared!  And by the way, this "uproar" about red cups at Starbucks just makes me embarrassed.  As Christians we've gotta do better with our message.  LOVE is our work.

I'm a mess tonight  because my body hurts and I'm all out of steam.  And for that, I'M GRATEFUL!  I ran 20 miles today.  I did it!!  My body is strong and healthy and works.  It gets worn out and blistered and chapped and my shoulder, in the eloquent words of Brittany the awesome Massage Envy therapist,  is "all jacked up".  But it works!  

dont worry theyll tell you
Sorry about all this marathon talk!  

I'm also grateful for my sweet friend Christy.  We were able to have lunch together yesterday and I was reminded of how lucky I am to have such an amazing person in my life.  We have been friends for 20 years!  More than just about anyone else I know Christy has impacted my faith.  I am in awe of the depth of her faith.  It is not stagnant though, it is a living faith in which she is always learning.  I have watched as she has faithfully walked, carefully thought and allowed her heart to constantly be formed.  She inspires me to be a better person. 

Sunday, November 8, 2015

6, 7, 8

For Kevin
Yesterday Eleanor had her last soccer game of the season.  The team she has played on since kindergarten fell apart this year and they didn't have enough girls to make a team this fall.  A few girls from our elementary school had to join another elementary school's team.  It was a little scary  for the girls but they did great.  Kevin offered to help coach the new team and it turned out to be a great season of learning and growing and new friends.  For both Kevin and Eleanor.  I'm grateful for Kevin's commitment to our kids and his desire to connect with them.   

For Leah
My girls do not have actual  first cousins,  but they have do have Leah who they call their cousin.  She's the most amazing cousin I could've dreamed up for my kids.  She's the role model as a parent you pray you'll find for your kids.  She's patient, strong, hard working, enthusiastic, passionate and has such a wise way of looking at life.  She gives Kevin and me hope that all of this very exhausting parenting work will give our girls the same foundation on which Leah stands.  Leah has parents who rock!  Not saying Kevin and I rock but we're doing our best and shooting for the starts...aka Leah!  I am grateful for Leah and so happy that she has chosen to have such an important part in the girls' lives. 

For a baby

In May, the girls will have a cousin!  A baby boy is joining our family and we couldn't be more excited!  Meredith, who always has a little gift for the kids,  surprised us last week with a puzzle for the kids to put together.  The puzzle announced the arrival of a baby!!  Excitement ensued and technology helped to share the news across the miles between St. Louis and Dan and Beth in Kansas City and Blake in San Francisco.  I'm so grateful that I get to be an aunt!  

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Day 5- A budget with a little breathing room

A fridge full of warm food means out to dinner!
On Wednesday morning when I opened the freezer to retrieve ice packs for lunch boxes, a sticky mess of melted popsicles greeted me.  I thought one of the kids had left the freezer door ajar overnight, causing the mess.   I cleaned it up and reminded everyone to CLOSE THE DOOR! That afternoon I realized the refrigerator wasn't really that cold and nothing in the freezer had refrozen.  So it seems it wasn't our careless kids after all.  To be clear, they have earned their reputations as meances.  I'm typing this post without my lamp as someone broke the lightbulb in my lamp.  Not just the glass but the little silver part that screws into the lamp-- it's stuck.  The person broke the lightbulb to such a degree that I cannot just replace the bulb I have to figure out how to get the old bulb out.  Anyway, I called a repairman for the refrigerator and thankfully he was able to come this afternoon.  $255 later and it might be fixed.  We had refrigerator problems in the apartment and I won't rest easy for awhile.   No big grocery purchases until I"m certain it's back on track.  Oh, I hope we don't have to replace it though!

And then there's this

A flat tire on top of a sick refrigerator.  And a couple of months ago Kevin had a flat tire which ended  in 4 new tires.  While I'm not thankful for ANY of this I am grateful that it just feels like money to me not like a disaster.  I'm grateful that while I really don't want to spend money on any of these things it's not going to cause us to have to make hard decisions about heat, or food, or insurance.  Tonight I'm praying for all those families who make hard decisions about those things every day.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Day 4- Christmas is Coming!

   I ran 12 miles this morning.  It was  a drop back week so it didn't really feel that long.  Even though I say that in all honestly, it still seems like crazy talk to me. This line of thinking signals the fact that I am nearly finished with my marathon training---I have fully entered into a period of insanity where running less than two and a half hours at a time seems "nice" and discussion of my many aches and pains causes my kids to shout "TMI mom, TMI!!".  
Lucy spent the afternoon with my mom and since I figured I'd earned a little rest from that run, I decided it was a great time to get a jump start on Christmas.  It was such a fun afternoon!  I made our family Advent calendar and organized myself for all of the fun ahead.  I turned on my Christmas Pandora station but it was too early even for me.  I'll try in another week or so!  
It's back to November tomorrow but Christmas is coming and I'm so thankful!

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Day 3- Perspective

I took a picture at the game, just not of the girl in the game!  

Tonight was Emma's last soccer game of the season.  It's been a great season, Emma has become a much stronger player and has had such fun playing.  
As I watched the game I chatted with my friend Cabrina, whose daughter is also on the team.  We commiserated over how unbelievably forgetful our girls are.  Seriously, the old saying about forgetting their heads if they weren't attached is TRUE!  As half time was called Cabrina, who had hosted a team party a couple of weekends ago said that someone had forgotten their portable chairs at her house after the party and she needed to figure out who.  I looked over at where she'd laid the chairs and realized they belonged to ME!  Kevin and I had forgotten our chairs at the party!  Cabrina and I cried over this, it was such a hilarious reminder that the apple really doesn't fall far from the tree.  

I am grateful tonight for perspective.  I am happy to be able to laugh at myself and keep from becoming too certain that I have things figured out.   

Monday, November 2, 2015

Day 2- School

This morning I got to help make cookies in Eleanor's classroom.  They kids used cut out cookies shaped like Missouri to learn the geography of the state.  I loved it!  Not only was it an opportunity to spend some time with Eleanor but it was a reminder of what an awecome school system my kids are a part of.  I am so thankful for the exceptional facilities, the outstanding staff and the abundance of materials.  


This is Eleanor's chair.  Yep, it's a stool.  A stool that moves around, sort of like something you'd see on a playground.  The school realizes that kids weren't made to sit still.  So they not only let them move they encourage movement.  This not only decreases behavior issues but it increases learning.

I dream that some day every single child in our city will have their very own classroom like Eleanor's.  Full of movement, and hands on learning, with enough books and paper and love for everyone, fun of qualified, dedicated staff and a sense of safety.   Oh, how I wish I knew how to make my dream a reality.  I don't have a clue.  I'll keep dreaming though.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Thankful in November

 I'm so happy to welcome this wonderful month!  
I'm also excited to begin my somewhat annual November thankful posts!

Today, I'm thankful for a day to get things back on track around our house.   We spent nearly the whole day organizing and cleaning up.  It was very needed and felt great.  We had conversations throughout the day about other things that are in need of some cleaning up.  
Attitudes.  Time spent on technology.  Time management.  Sugar intake!  Keeping up with chores.  

Halloween was a success.  Lots and lots of fun was had.  Though I never got a photo of the girls together this year.  They were all going in different directions!   I am getting terrible about taking pictures.  I vow here and now to improve.